Monday, October 31, 2005

iTunes not so impressive

So, Apple started iTunes store in Australia this week, and since I've already got an ipod and use iTunes to play my music, so I shelled out for a pre paid card and had a play. In terms of convenience it's on a par with other means of downloading music, and I'll probably check in once a week to see what the free song is. But I wont be spending any more money on it. Where it's less useful than other sources I use is in finding new stuff. When I don't have to pay, I'm much more likely to experiment and try something just because it's there and I can, but at $1.69 a song, it's not all that practical or affordable.

I've also tried using it to find new podcasts, but again other methods are more fruitful. Word of mouth is the main one I use, seeing what other podcasters recommend. What iTunes lacks is a sorting mechanism. One big long list with only a few broad categories doesn't help out a lot in deciding if I want to listen to something or not.

So, I'll stick with iTunes to manage my iPod, and play music, but once the credit I've already bought is used up, I'll let it be.

End Post
Writing time: 10 minutes

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Once again I've left it a few weeks since I last put anything up here. So what's been going on in my world.

A few days ago I had a monthly review meeting with my team leader at work. One of the things discussed was if I wanted to apply for the latest round of permanent recruitment. It's very frustrating because she was saying things like my performance speaks for itself, when the facts of the matter clearly show that while my performance may speak for itself, that's not the thing their listening to.

Next weekend I won't be working. Since I went back to work after my overseas trip, I have worked every Saturday and Sunday since the middle of May. The only downside is I left it too late to enter the event I was planning on going to on that weekend. A few of my friends who were also going to go are in the same boat, so we're going to have our own mini event somewhere else, so I'll still have something to do.

Now for a bit of a rant. A while ago on a current affairs show there was a story about people protesting a meeting of white supremists. The thing I found worst about the whole thing was how the people protesting were saying that the people at the meeting had no right to say the things they were saying. This is not right. Freedom of speech is not conditional. It's not just for those who agree with what you think. Anyone who has an opinion can state their opinion. What they can't do is force that opinion on others. So while I don't agree with the white supremists, I'm not going to stop them speaking about what they want to speak about. I don't know who said it, but the phrase "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it with my life" is close to the right attitude. Add in something about listening and judging what people say on the merits of what they say and not who they is probably another good thing. For example Nathan Bedford Forrest was a pretty good military leader, and has likely said some useful things in the area of military tactics, and should not be dismissed just because he's the founder of the KKK. His ideas on racial harmony, though I probably wouldn't give as much credence. Anyway, in conclusion, it pisses me off when people who are for mulitculturalism and the freedom to be who you want to be say that people who disagree with them have no right to say what they want to say. If your free to be a diverse, accepting person, they're free to be narrowminded. You don't have to agree with them or like them for it, and surely don't take any bullshit from them, but they're allowed to have their say.

Before this year, I never really managed to save any money. Now admittedly during my undergrad years I didn't really get that much in the first place ($350 a fortnight isn't all that much, especially when you $250 a fortnight board), but a few bonus bits of cash that came through got put aside and then gradually drawn from over time. Over the past few months, I've managed to put a lot more aside. When I got back from Thailand, I had about $700 or so cash to my name. Since then I've been able to save about a third of what I actually earn, with no real cut backs in other expenditure. I've been able to do this because compared to last year where I didn't save anything, I'm paying less rent and I'm earning about 50% more, while still having a similar lifestyle. Putting it like that it doesn't seem so remarkable, but I now have a lot of money that is just sitting there. This is a new thing for me. A few months ago I upgraded my computer, and bought a new chair (an arm rest on the old one came of, and as it was reasonably important in terms of structural integrity, that chair was laid to rest), but that's about it. I'm now considering buying a new bookcase, as my current one is so full that each shelf has two rows of books on it and then books on top of the books filling the gaps between shelves. I'm also giving a bit of thought to acquiring a motorbike, but there is the little matter of getting a motorbike license before that can go ahead.

No news yet on the Iraqi referendum on the new constitution. Saddam is on trial for the first of several cases, this one seems rather minor, but is pretty clear cut, so is probably a good starting point from a procedural sense.

I'm going to try and go to a play during the next week, Interesting Times. It's an adaption of a Terry Pratchett novel put on by the Brisbane Arts Theatre, who do a Terry Pratchett play each year. I've enjoyed the previous shows they've done, so it's just a matter of making sure I get a ticket.

That's all for now, I'll try and do a new post by the 30th of October, 2005 (being overly precise means I can't do any wriggling out of things).

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writing time: 1 hour, 1 minute

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Another long pause

Again I've let it go a few weeks without writing anything, so I'll put in a few things that have been on my mind.

First, one of my friends recently broke up with his long time girlfriend. He then proceeded to get quite drunk and then come to my place. It was a bit awkward as I really don't know what to do or how to help out in that kind of situation other than trying to make sure he didn't do anything to foolhardy. We did talk a lot, more so as he started to sober up. Romance is still a mostly closed book to me, and I think if I had more experience in the area I would have been able to help him more.

Daylight savings has started, so even though Queensland doesn't have it, because the place I work takes calls from all over Australia I've started getting shifts that start at 7:30 in the morning. This means I have to wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 which isn't really fun.

I recently noticed a comment that wasn't spam. I initially thought it was as it said something I thought was stupid, but I checked the facts and it turns out that I had assumed two different individuals were the one person. Anyway I learnt something, and it shows someone is reading this so that's two good things.

I've recently finished playing Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines (I know the double colon doesn't look the best, but that's what the game is called). It's a pretty good game, the story is intriguing. There are a number of different styles of play, depending on what aspects of the character you focus on. The first time I played, I was a sneaky fighter type, and most things weren't too difficult. This time I'm playing as a magic user and trying to concentrate on ranged combat, but it's not working too well. There are too many places where the way forward is to just lay the smack down, and if I invest experience in the areas to make that ok, it won't leave enough to specialize as much as I would want to.

Anyway, I thought I had more to say, but it would appear I don't, so this will be it for now.

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writing time: 26 minutes